CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte woman said she was violated earlier this year at the Massage Envy in Myers Park, but her concerns have yet to be resolved.
The woman, who did not want to be identified, told Eyewitness News reporter Stephanie Tinoco the male massage therapist made her uncomfortable the moment she arrived for her appointment in January.
The woman said she never met the massage therapist before that session.
“He just kept wanting to talk about dating the entire hour, and it just started to get really, really uncomfortable,” the woman said. “He said, ‘Do you have any hot friends you can set me up with?’ And it just continued to get weird. I tried to change the subject, and he would bring it right back to his dating.”
She said her hourlong massage got more stressful by the minute. At one point, she said the therapist moved her undergarments to touch her inappropriately.
“He just took it to the next level. This is the first time I’d ever met this guy. (He) completely folded the sheet to expose half of my body. It just felt really kind of gross and icky.”
The woman said she immediately filed a complaint with Massage Envy and asked to remain anonymous but said, somehow, the man found her on social media and began sending threatening messages.
“I freaked out. I started panicking. He threatened to sue me. He said he knew that I was the reason why he lost his job. I was going to cost him a lot of money,” she recalled.
The woman filed a police report with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for cyberstalking and sexual harassment. She also contacted the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy and filed a complaint with the board.
The board told Tinoco they are reviewing that complaint against the massage therapist. A spokesperson also confirmed the board sent the therapist a certified letter in February outlining the allegations and asked him to respond within seven days.
The board has not heard from the therapist. As of Thursday, the massage therapist’s license is still active.
“It bothers me that there's probably another female that’s laying on his table that he’s doing this stuff to,” she said.
The woman said her life hasn’t been the same since.
“Right when this happened, I was looking over my shoulder just to make sure he was not behind me or that he wasn’t going to come to my house or that he wasn’t going to come to my office and try to harass me.”
The therapist facing allegations released a statement over the phone saying, “I am 110% professional. I am innocent. Any allegations including sexual assault, harassment or stalking are not true.”
A hearing is set for June 20 when both the massage therapist and the woman will have a chance to tell a panel what happened. The panel could decide to revoke the massage therapist’s license or make other recommendations.
The massage therapist is not facing any criminal charges at this time.
Massage Envy statement:
“Massage Envy is committed to promoting a safe environment for members, guests and service providers at each of our nearly 1,200 franchise locations nationwide.
“We urge anyone that experiences anything other than a safe, quality massage to report it immediately to the franchise location so that it can be investigated. We cannot comment on pending allegations or litigation, but we believe we have established best-in-class practices to address the types of issues alleged.
“With the help of the Massage Envy Safety Advisory Council, which is made up of leading experts, and our work with RAINN, the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the U.S., we are committed to promoting a safe environment for members, guests and service providers at each of our franchise locations. “We will never stop working to have industry-leading safety policies.”
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